Researchers from four medical schools multi-million dollar grant to conduct a study on the brain and the effects of aging. The $33.1 million grant will go to Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Harvard University/Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of Minnesota Medical School, and the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). The grant comes from the National Institute on Aging, which is part of the National Institutes for Health.
This particular research study the grant will fund is known as the Adult Aging Brain Connectome study. The study will focus on the connection between aging, brain health, and potential decline.
“We’re looking at risk and resilience,” said co-principal investigator Beau M. Ances, MD, Ph.D., the Daniel J. Brennan, MD, Professor of Neurology at Washington University. “What are the factors that increase an individual’s risk of cognitive impairment? What confers resilience? Are there key inflection points during an individual’s lifetime or certain factors exposed to that put them on a path toward cognitive impairment? We are studying participants across a large age range to try to answer these important questions.”
GrantWatch has similar grants available to U.S., Canada, and International researchers and firms for research related to brain health. Funding will provide financial assistance to researchers whose programs address brain-related disorders and promote brain safety and health.
A Closer Look at the Adult Aging Brain Connectome Study
The study will build upon the foundations built by the Human Connectome Project. This project mapped the anatomical and functional connections among brain areas in healthy children and adults of many ages. It provided invaluable data on what a healthy brain structure actually looks like across a life span. Now, this study will build upon the data and insights collected.
Specifically, the study will follow 1000 healthy adults, younger, middle-aged, and older adults, over several years. The participants will receive several brain scans, along with other data collection. This will allow researchers to understand how each individual’s brain changes and declines over time. Then scientists will work to identify factors that put people at risk for or protect them from brain decline.
The study will consist of four projects:
- The first will look at the effect of potentially harmful factors such as stress and inflamtion on the brains of young adults.
- And the second will specifically investigate the role of lifestyle factors including excercise in mid-adulthood.
- Then the third will study hormonal changes that occur around the time of menopause, and also it’s impact on the brain
- Finally, the fourth will look at older adults who have maintained their mental acuity well into their later years. It will look to identify the factors that kept them safe from dementia, as well as other aging issues.
All of this research aims to figure out what factors can lead to aging-related brain decline and how to protect the brain from it. This could be revolutionary in helping to prevent age-related brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s.
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